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BMW 7 Series Protection can stop armor-piercing bullets

Designed for motorists with tenacious enemies, the BMW 7 Series Protection was developed in-house with a long list of add-ons that allows it to withstand shots from armor-piecing bullets. It looks almost exactly like the regular-production sedan, and it’s just as luxurious inside.

BMW notes that the armored Protection model was in the pipeline from the very beginning of the new 7’s development process; the variant wasn’t added to the range as an afterthought. Details about the transformation are understandably few and far between, as knowing exactly which materials were added to which part of the car would make life a whole lot easier for anyone trying to shoot the occupants.

What we know is that the Protection is built around an armored steel structure. It then receives safety glass and additional armored panels to protect the underbody; BMW designed the underbody and the roof to withstand attacks carried out with explosives. The sedan earned a VR9 protection rating, so it’s capable of stopping 7.62mm armor-piercing bullets (the kind fired by the M60 machine gun, for example). 

This isn’t “Mad Max”; BMW can’t simply weld thick steel plates to a run-of-the-mill 7 Series and call it a day. It also added a self-sealing fuel tank, made several changes to the chassis, and fitted 20-inch wheels wrapped by run-flat tires designed specifically for armored cars. And, while the Protection comes with numerous driving aids, they provide the driver warnings rather than stepping in to control the sedan.

Folks who need an armored BMW to commute in likely don’t want to draw attention to themselves, so BMW went to great lengths to ensure the Protection looks as much like a regular-production 7 Series as possible. Alternatively, it can be decked out with lights in the grille, in the door mirror caps, and on the parcel shelf as well as flag poles on the fenders. Inside, it’s all of the luxury you expect from a 7 Series: You’ll find a 1,265-watt Bowers & Wilkins surround-sound system with 28 speakers, motorized doors, and power-operated rear sunshades.

Highlights from the lengthy list of options include a display that shows the footage captured by the rear-view camera regardless of the car’s speed or direction, a microphone integrated into the center console that lets the passengers communicate with people outside the car without opening the doors or the windows, a fresh-air supply system, and a fire extinguisher. BMW can even train your chauffeur for you.

Power for the 7 Series Protection comes from a 4.4-liter twin-turbocharged V8 that works with a 48-volt mild-hybrid system to develop 530 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. Alternatively, the electric i7 is available in Protection specification as well, though we imagine the weight added by the armor has a less-than-ideal effect on range — especially if you’re trying to get away from someone who is angry and heavily armed. For context, the i7 Protection takes 9 seconds flat to reach 62 mph from a stop, while the i7 gets there in 3.7 seconds.

BMW will present the 7 Series Protection at the 2023 Munich auto show. Deliveries are scheduled to start in December 2023.

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